Editorial: your rights as a photographer, Fujifilm, and the future

http://petapixel.com/2016/02/25/ive-stopped-20-times-police-camera-tripod/

Thankfully, I’ve never been stopped or hassled for taking pictures.  I remember in our intro class watching a video on Joel Meyerowitz, how he would get up right in people’s faces while taking pictures, and honestly, the guy looks a bit sketchy…people in my class might or might not have nicknamed him Captain Creepy.  For myself, and I know that being a guy I’m immediately more intimidating (and I’ve done some things in my time that might be considered creepy), I try to smile as much as possible.  I find that people are disarmed the more open and friendly you appear, and do my best to appear exactly that way–it’s easy when I think I’ve just gotten a good shot–most people don’t notice me anyway, until afterwards.  Of course, I don’t carry a tripod around with me, I don’t generally use zoom or long telephoto lenses, and I don’t have a great big DSLR.  In fact, if anyone notices my camera at all, it usually sparks a conversation about the good ole days

I can’t say that I agree with police harassing photographers and it does seem to be happening more these days, but I also don’t know a solution for it either.  The best we can hope to do is educate people about exactly what the First Amendment covers in this situation.  My intro teacher recommended that we print out this page and carry it with us everywhere, as a deterrent from harassment; I can’t say I’ve ever had to use it.

http://petapixel.com/2016/02/29/fujifilm-putting-end-fp-100c-peel-apart-instant-film/

I saw this story when reading the previous one and felt like I needed to comment.  I’m a big fan of Fuji’s product, I think it’s great.  But like Bellamy, I’m done complaining about it.
This is very sad news, but in all honesty, I am over it. Fuji have a terrible track record when it comes to film in the last 10 years. They cite lack of demand for film, put the prices up, then complain that nobody is buying the film and then they cut it. Over and again. This is not a lack of demand, this is a calculated market withdrawal.
-Bellamy Hunt

The difference between Fuji and Kodak is that we’ve seen that Kodak remains committed to making film, and Fuji is not.  Nikon doesn’t even let film photographers enter their contests anymore, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that another big company has sold out their film user fanbase.  I can’t get Superia 800 at Wal-Mart anymore (the only thing I ever buy at Wal-Mart) so I wonder if they’re still making that, and for how long.  Since I started buying film more than 6 years ago, it’s been Fuji for color and Kodak for black & white, but I’m weaning myself off that.  I’ve seen some really nice things online for Kodak Gold 200, and of course Portra 400 is the newest and most advanced color film on the market today (not to mention Ektar).  As much as I want to hoard a huge pile of Velvia before Fuji prices it out of the market, there’s no reason to get too attached to anything from Fuji when it probably won’t be available in 5 years.  Who knows, maybe Ferrania will work out a deal, but if not, at least they’ll have their own unique slide film on the market by the end of this year.  Why continue to support a company that doesn’t care about your business?

As far as FP100c goes, it’s sad that we’re losing it.  In fact, it’s gone quite a bit faster than FP3000b did, though as I write this, it’s still available for around $13 a pack from the usual photo retailers (I paid $8.50 on Amazon for the pack I had a few years ago).  FP3000b was available for $18 at that time (it’s now $30 but still there) so if you’re willing to pay a bit more, I think you’ll have the option for another year or two.  Personally, I don’t have much of a use for it because I hated using the Polaroid Land Camera.  It’s a pain in the ass to focus and I never got on the instant film bandwagon anyway.  The only other reasonable option was something like the Mamiya press camera, assuming you could find one with the appropriate Polaroid back, but thankfully, if that’s what you’re doing, you have a much more versatile platform anyway.  I’m not going to mourn the loss of film for the Land Camera, sorry.

Bellamy also has a bit more to say, it’s a good read.

Even right now on eBay there’s a Konica Instant Press camera that someone has bid $2400.  Talk about money down the drain…

https://medium.com/vantage/5-predictions-for-the-future-of-photography-f95be2cc6689#.vr3k7hoxc

Which brings us to some dire predictions for the future.  Actually, it’s not all dire.  The advancement of virtual reality, the resurgence of the GIF, those are interesting things.  Not revolutionary perhaps, but it is wonderful seeing things come about that were dreamed up by people like William Gibson more than 30 years ago, or to ponder some Dickian questions about the nature of our reality.

One of the great things about digital technology is its vast potential, but it’s a potential that has gone largely unrealised.  Back about 15 years ago, there was a wonderful film made called Russian Ark which was one of the first to be shot with a digital camera.  What makes it so special is that the entire 90min film is played out in one single take with no cutting at all, a feat that had never been attempted before or since.  This is something that film technology simply can’t do, so for once, digital trumped film, yet instead of this being a bold new turning point for the medium, it’s a sidenote in the history books now.  Things like shooting GIFs don’t come close to doing the same thing, not when cameras like the Lomokino exist (probably Lomography’s most interesting and unique offering).

The last thing I took away was this:
We need to figure out how we surface the images people want to see and find the stories that people want to tell. How do we find the most beautiful photos out of 2 Trillion?”
Hard to do, and that is the downside to digital distribution and access.  When the competition grows so incredibly quickly as it has in the last 15 years, and when everyone is on relatively equal footing, it is extremely hard to distinguish yourself from the masses.  It’s the same problem in music.  Here’s what I see: the technology does increasingly more thinking for the user, so the average user keeps getting dumber.  Do you want to set yourself apart?  Using your brain is a good first step.

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